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 November 8 Liturgy

Sunday 8th November 1998, Pentecost 23
Haggai 1:15b-2:9; Ps.145:1-5,17-21; 2 Thess. 2:1-5,13-17; Luke 20:27-38  Rec. text - NRSV.
Hymns are from the Australian Hymn Book unless otherwise indicated.
 Worship Leader - normal type. Congregational responses - bold type.
 Permission is granted to churches to use this material in services of worship.
This liturgy remains the property of Moira B. Laidlaw.

Additional resources for Pentecost 23 - A Singing Faith, Jane Parker Huber, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1987; Sing Alleluia: A Supplement to the Australian Hymn Book, Collins Liturgical Australia, Victoria, 1987; Australian Prayers,Bruce D Prewer, Lutheran Publishing House, Adelaide,  1983; Mission Prayer Handbook 1998’- ‘How will we live?’ The Assembly Commission for Mission, The Uniting Church in Australia, 1998.
 CALL TO WORSHIP: based on Psalm 145: 1-5, 17-21I
 I will praise you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.
Every single day we will bless you, and praise your name forever and ever.
Your greatness is beyond  understanding.
Each generation will praise your mighty acts and bear witness to  them to
the next generation. 
I will meditate on the glorious splendour of your majesty and your wondrous
works, O God..
Wondrous works made visible through your justice and your kindness;
and experienced in your nearness to all who call on you in truth and  faith.
As we cry out to you with sincere and humble hearts,  you hear our prayers
and you save us
With you, O God, is life - apart from you there is death and destruction.
Let our mouths speak words of praise and let all people bless God’s holy name forever and ever. 

HYMN 1: “We praise, we worship thee, O God” Tune (1)    or
A Singing Faith 13: “Sing praise and Hallelujah” Tune AHB 277 Ellacombe

We praise and worship you, O God, with sincere and humble hearts.  We  give
thanks for your greatness  which, through the power of your Holy Spirit,  we
experience in our lives as grace and mercy.  Jesus revealed such greatness in his life as
 he  loved and served people in your name.  Generations  have  been blessed by this
great assurance your love, and through their witness, we too are blessed.  We pray
that this time of worship may be an opportunity not only for our mouths to speak
and sing words of praise to you for these blessings, but also that our lives will  be so touched by your Spirit that the lives we touch are blessed also. 
In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen

EPISTLE: 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-5, 13-17
Verse 15 of the epistle is key verse -  “So then, brothers and sisters, stand fast and hold firm to the traditions that you were taught”.   
 Bring along a number of different candles - e.g. birthday candles, a baptismal candle, an advent candle, a candle one might have on dinner table etc.
Read verse 15 and then explain that a tradition is something passed on from one
generation to another such as the handing down of  beliefs or customs, especially
by word of mouth or by practice.  Sometimes we don’t even realise just when  we are
being taught something traditional.
Hold the candles up in turn and ask the children/young folk if they know what each
candle might be used for.  Ask what they do  with the birthday doubt
answers will be similar - put on cake to signify number of years being celebrated -
 blown out - song - “Happy Birthday” - photographs etc. Is that always done the
same way each birthday - for each family member?  How do they know what to do
with birthday candles? Ask them if they think that they will celebrate birthdays like
this when they have children... all this equals being taught something traditional.
Go on to speak about the other candles and how they are part of traditional practices
 in church and in families.   In the words we heard earlier from the New Testament,
the writer, Paul, is saying that it is important to hold on to - to learn about, certain
traditions - the ones he and others had taught  - and these traditions were to do with
what we do and how we live our lives as Christians, as followers of Jesus.  Jesus
showed us in his life how to do certain things the same way, time after time. He
showed us how to love God, how to love each other, how to reach out to other
people and to do loving things for them. 
Some young people unfortunately, only know hurtful traditions, such as abuse and
 hunger, poverty and the destructive effects of conflict in families and  broken
relationships and even the effects of ongoing wars.  Jesus taught us to look out for
any such people and to work to bring about justice for them so that they will know
 they are loved by God.  You could say that is traditional christian teaching and when
 we come to church/ sundayschool we are reminded about these and other traditions
and we are taught how exciting it is to be part of teaching these traditions to others.

HYMN 114: “Thank you for giving me the morning”
Invite half the congregation to replace “brothers” in v.2 with “sisters”            or
HYMN 561: “Kneels at the feet of his friends”  In v.2, replace “men” with “folk” and in
next line sing “neighbours are black, brown and white”.  In v.3 replace “men” with “these”


Gracious and merciful God,  we give thanks that you gave a whole new dimension to traditional faith when you entered the confusion and messiness of  human life in
person - in Jesus Christ.  He communicated your divine love in ways which gave
significance and purpose to people’s lives.
We mean to do likewise, but we hesitate, and the moment is lost . We confess
that all too often we fail to communicate our faith  in ways which empower
A time of silent confession
As we remember what you, O God, have done throughout history, and in and through Jesus, we acknowledge that part of our task as a community of faith is the passing on
of these memories in  responsible and credible ways.
We confess that we get so caught up with the pressures of  the present  that we forget how important these memories are -
for shaping our identity as people of faith -
for shaping and reshaping our values, 
shaping our dispositions and our goals
A time of silent confession
You demonstrated in Jesus that your care for us extends beyond time and space.
We run out of time so easily and think about space in terms of having a quiet moment for ourselves. Forgive us when we find that we have no spare time to even think about caring for those outside our family or faith community.
A time of silent confession

We need reminding again and again, O God,  that you, through Jesus and the
 Holy Spirit, strengthen us to be people of  faith  - people refreshed and 
empowered by your Spirit
 Remind us that,  in spite of  our weaknesses and our failures, you are shaping
and reshaping our lives in new and exciting ways.
We pray therefore, that the greatness of your love will be truly visible as we hold
fast to the traditions we have been taught.
And we pray that  you, most merciful God, with our Lord Jesus Christ, will
comfort our hearts and strengthen them in every good work  and word.   Amen

SING ALLELUIA 25: “Comfort, comfort, all my people” sung either as a solo or
choir piece or by whole congregation while seated.

Jesus surely brought to fruition the psalmist’s prayer that all who cry out to God
will be saved.  Hold fast, therefore,  to the teaching that Jesus Christ came into the
world to save sinners.  (1 Timothy 1:15) And so I declare to you with confidence:
 In  Jesus Christ we are forgiven.
Thanks be to God!

OLD TESTAMENT: Haggai 1: 15b to 2:9
GOSPEL: Luke 20:27-38


HYMN 552: “Have faith in God, my heart”   or
HYMN 374: “Glorious things of you are spoken” Tune (1) Austria
“For Faith” page 110,  and “For Those who Hunger” page 126 ‘Australian Prayers’; “We pray for the Church” Page 57 - ‘Mission Prayer Handbook 1998’-
 ‘How will we live?’



Gracious God, receive and bless these gifts we pray. We offer them in response
 to the great gift of yourself, revealed in Jesus, and the precious gift of faith,
carefully handed down, through the power of your Holy Spirit, from one
generation to another. May this offering, and the offering of our lives, truly
witness to our  dedication to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ,  sharing 
and passing on our faith through  word and deed.  In Jesus’ name we pray.Amen

HYMN 327: “Holy Spirit, come confirm us in the truth that Christ makes known” or
HYMN 328: “Filled with the Spirit’s power”
Invite people to replace “the men” with
“people” in verse 3.

Go into this week,
blessed by the great mercy of God,
embraced by the  genuine love of Jesus Christ,
held fast by the unfailing strength of the Holy Spirit.

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